Many are familiar with Market Research, yet a few understand the difference between Market Research and UX Research. For the last several years, I have seen an influx of Senior Market Researchers participating in our UX Training to upgrade their knowledge and skills. Some were converted, while some were still in their comfort zone. All agreed that they needed to learn UX Research.
The global COVID-19 crisis has forced us to change our behaviours and preferences with less or no option. Many industries scramble to adapt towards swift unprecedented changes caused by the safety measures taken by authorities around the world.
Many have involuntarily adapted the way we work, live, play and interact with others. For example, in a cash society like Indonesia, the fear of virus transmission through the use of cash has sparked a discussion about cash washing. Even though “WHO did not say banknotes would transmit COVID-19”, authorities around the world have started to discourage the use of cash as a means of payment, and encourage the use contactless payment means instead.
Aside from a new habit of washing one’s hands frequently, physically distancing oneself from others, wearing masks, working from home and many other new habits to be learned and forcibly cultivated during this crisis, this has become a new normal for many of us. One ponders whether the new normal would stay and become the future normal.
We start asking ourselves some tough questions. How do I work productively in my house? Which new normal we want to keep, and which new normal we want to avoid? Ultimately, what are the lessons from the current new normal?
Work From Home
A new normal that we are interested to learn is related to The Indonesian Workforce Productivity, Sentiment and Expectations towards Work From Home (WFH).
We started our research from our own employees, representing a small population of professionals located in four different cities and two islands in Indonesia, i.e. Jakarta, Bogor, Tangerang, Bekasi, Depok, Semarang, Pekanbaru, and Jambi. The initial results show that:
- Internet and Media Social are where these young workers get their information about WFH before they embark on experiencing WFH.
- Once WFH started, they mostly reduced their outdoor activities, spent more time with their families, and spent less money.
- All were crystal clear of their daily expectations of work.
- Most reported that their workload is the same.
- Most reported that their work quality is the same.
- Most reported that the amount of work done is the same.
- Protection from infection and commuting time-saving are two most benefits experienced from WFH.
- Communication Problem, Unstable Internet Connection, Boredom, and Loneliness are the top four problems faced by the WFH workers.
- When they were asked about their expectation of WFH after the crisis, the results were mixed. Around 70% expected to be able to work from the office or part-time WFH, and the rest expected to be able to work fully from home.
There are still lots of what, which, when, where, whom, how and why questions yet to be answered in this preliminary survey. In the coming weeks, we will enrich this survey with an In-depth Interview, while conducting Remote Design Sprint.
The survey is still open until 30th April 2020. If you are interested participating in the survey, you can head to bit.ly/wfhsurvei. If you are interested to participate in our In-depth Interview or Remote Design Sprint, please contact us.
Survey (Quantitative Attitude) and In-depth Interview (Qualitative Attitude) are two of the most-used primary research methods in Market Research, in addition to Focus Groups (Qualitative Attitude), Observation (Qualitative Behaviour) and Field Trials (Quantitative Behaviour). Depending on how one conducts the research, one can mix and match, add qualitative to quantitative methods for each, and vice versa. If one conduct a market research well, one can have a good snapshot of the current market and answer the following questions:
- Does a market exist?
- Who are the customers and their needs?
- What is the size of the total addressable market?
- What does the competitive landscape look like?
Good answers to the above were sufficient to make a well-founded business decision to move on towards a commercialization. It is however not enough to ensure a successful commercialization. This is where UX Research becomes essential.
In User Experience (UX), the user as human is the center of innovation, execution, evaluation, and transformation. This is the reason why UX is often also known as a user-centered or human-centered framework. Design, technology, business and socioculture are the four intertwined aspects of UX. These four aspects form the user’s relationship with a brand over a period of time.
Based on the four aspects of UX, UX Research also comprises of four aspects, i.e. Design Research, Technological Research, Market Research, and Sociocultural Research. In practice, one can conduct each research independently, which we have seen for several decades with Market Research. The best approach, however, is to conduct four of them in a UX Research framework. There are surely pros and cons for each approach, which are not going to be discussed here.
A good example of a UX Research method that intersects the four aspects of UX is Journal or Diary Studies. With a purpose of gaining contextual insights about user’s attitude and behaviour over an extended period of time, the success of this method relies on how the results of Diary Studies can readily be translated into Personas and User Journeys in terms of design, technology, business and socioculture.
Should I conduct Market Research or UX Research?
Conducting Market Research is a costly upfront investment. I argue that it is more effective to conduct a five-day Design Sprint plus a week of UX Research than a three-month Market Research. Nonetheless, since many businesses are more familiar with Market Research than UX Research, it is often easier to convince decision makers signing up on Market Research, rather than UX Research, regardless of the investment.
Examples of UX Research Questions:
- Design-based Research Questions: How Might We (HMW)
- Technology Use Questions: Technology Use in Education in Developing Countries
- Sociocultural Questions: Sociocultural Questions, for example: Sociocultural Research Questions in Designing Connected Products: UX for the Consumer Internet of Things p.5–1
If you can leverage your Market Research with UX Research, what’s stopping you from learning and conducting UX Research?